You Gotta Be Connected...

To live a spiritual life as a disciple of Jesus, you have to be spiritually connected to Jesus. In the gospel of John (John 15:5) Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches...apart from me, you can do nothing." But wait--can't a person do good things as a disciple of Jesus without being a church member? Without pursuing a rich inner spiritual life? Without even being a Christian? Sure. But here's the problem. Part of the human condition is the deep impulse to act in our own self-interest. And left to our own devices, our universal tendency is to drift in this direction. We begin to think, "Why should I do that good thing when I can do this good thing and be more comfortable doing it; or feel better about it; or get public recognition for it; or make some money for doing it?" Given enough time, we will forget all about the purpose of God and focus entirely on ourselves. The classic film "Lord of the Flies" illustrates this beautifully. The behavior of a group of English schoolboys marooned on an island without adult supervision slowly descends into murderous barbarism, until they are chasing one of the boys with spears, trying to kill him. They are only stopped in their tracks by the sudden appearance of "a higher power"--an adult naval officer and crew there to rescue them. In the same way, left to our own devices, without any connection to "a higher power"--the presence of Jesus--we too can become blind with selfishness.

How do we stay connected? Maintaining a spiritual dimension in our lives through daily personal prayer; deepening our faith through study and learning; and receiving support in our faith through relationships with other people of faith. Then we are guided by this connection to take action in our world.

It you want to live an authentically spiritual life, you gotta stay connected!

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